Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone has once again come under fire for expressing her solidarity with JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh and the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) who were assaulted by masked men who are alleged to be ABVP activists.
Coming down hard on the actress for mingling with the pro-Left students’ lobby at JNU, Union Minister Smriti Irani said that Deepika had made her political affiliations known in 2011.
Smriti Irani also questioned Deepika’s motives in standing in solidarity with the pro-Left JNUSU leaders and ignoring the ABVP activists who had also complained of being assaulted earlier.
“She knew that she is standing with people who beat other girls at their private parts with lathis who don’t see eye to eye with them ideologically,” the Minister said.
“She stood next to them, that is her right. I can’t deny her that right. She made her affiliation known in 2011. It was a shock for people who admired her and watched all her films but did not know (about her political affiliation).
“It was not a shock for me. I think the vibrancy of the democracy that we are in depends upon that… we live with so many people who say so many things. We live in a democracy where communists want to come to power through democratic process. It is an oxymoron (sic).”
Smriti Irani is the first top BJP leader to hit out at Padukone for her JNU visit.
JNU campus has been simmering with tension after a group of masked people attacked several students on campus. The injured were mostly pro-Left student union activists, who have accused the right-wing ABVP.
On January 7, Deepika had visited JNU to stand in solidarity with the victim students.
Former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar was also present at the venue along with the current president Aishe Ghosh, who was severely injured during the attack.
As per the reports, Padukone visited the University around 7:30 pm and left after 15 minutes from the venue after speaking with some of the students present at the protest.
However, she did not speak at the university which divided the netizens. While many lauded Deepika for her participation in the first place, others have criticized her stating it as a publicity stunt.
Deepika Padukone’s visit to the JNU came at a time when she was in Delhi for Chhapaak promotions, which released today.
On Wednesday, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra tweeted: “So the original #TukdeTukdeGang will stand in support and solidarity for the photocopy #TukdeTukdeGang. Can anyone enumerate the names of those from Bollywood/Khan-market-gang who are planning to fly to Lahore to extend their well-meaning support (sic).”
However, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar decided to go soft on the issue saying, “Why only artistes, any common man can go anywhere to express his opinion, there cannot be any objection.”